PERTH: India’s World Cup squad was left embarrassed Wednesday after star batsman Virat Kohli verbally abused a journalist he mistakenly thought was the writer for another newspaper.
The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon at the Murdoch Oval in Perth where India were training ahead of their Pool B match against the West Indies at th WACA ground on Friday.
As soon as he wrapped up his net session, Kohli stormed to the sidelines and let off a volley of expletives at a horrified Indian reporter, eyewitnesses said.
The visibly shaken journalist wondered why Kohli had pounced on him without any possible provocation — until it was found to be a case of mistaken identity.
Kohli had actually planned to target a reporter from another Indian newspaper apparently for writing about his personal life.
Realising his mistake, Kohli offered his apologies through an intermediary, also a reporter.
He told the intermediary to inform Kohli that such behaviour was not expected from an international sportsman even if it was not directed at him.
“Go and tell him that he is an international player and he should learn how to behave,” the journalist said. “How can he abuse and intimidate someone?
“I would like to add that Kohli did not apologise to me directly.”
The team management declined to comment but sources said the temperamental Kohli, next in line for the India captaincy after Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had been spoken to and told to ensure such incidents were not repeated.
The bust-up has added to an already fragile relationship between the travelling journalists and the team, which has avoided all media contact outside the mandatory press conferences before and after a match.
Defending champions India have had a good start in the tournament, winning all their three matches against old foes Pakistan, mighty South Africa and minnows United Arab Emirates. AFP